Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

It's official: women in film speak less the older they get, yet men are lauded for ageing

pretty woman.jpg

A census of over 2,000 films has revealed how women get less dialogue in films the older they get, while male dialogue increases with age.

The survey, conducted by Polygraph, looked at film screenplays and matched the lines to actors. Then, they compared the ages of all cast members in each film at the time of the film’s release.

The results revealed, as we suspected, that women are increasingly marginalised in Hollywood as they age, with women between the ages of 22 and 31 speaking 38% of all female dialogue – a figure which falls to 31% after the age of 32 and to 20% for actors aged 42-65.

Surprisingly, though, the results were completely opposite for men, revealing that male characters were celebrated the older they got, up until the age of 65. Men between the ages of 42 to 65 were given 39% of the dialogue, compared with those aged between 32-41, who were given only 32%, or those aged 22 to 31 – 20%.

Both genders received far less dialogue when they reached the age of 65, however – with women at 3% and men at 5%.

mulan

Male characters have most dialogue, even in the case of female-led films like Mulan

The journalists at Polygraph decided to conduct the study following their analysis of all the films that do and don’t pass the Bechdel Test. When commenters argued that the test was inaccurate, Polygraph decided to choose another way of analysing gender roles in film.

As well as the ageism investigation, they decided to find out the percentage of lines female actors had, compared to male actors, following news in January that men received disproportionately more lines in Disney films than women.

Analysing 30 Disney films, they found that 22 out of the 30 have male majority of dialogue – even in the case of films with a female lead, such as Mulan.

Even Frozen, hailed as Disney’s most feminist film, didn’t have majority female dialogue, although it did have a more even spread – at 57% male dialogue, and 43% female.

Inside OutMaleficent and Alice in Wonderland had more female than male dialogue, though.

In non-Disney films, Polygraph found that in only 22% of all 2,000 screenplays studied, did women have the most dialogue.

Even when it came to romcoms, 58% of the dialogue is male. In the case of Pretty Woman and 10 Things I Hate About You which both have female leads, men have 52% dialogue.

The study confirms the shocking gender bias in Hollywood. 

Related

dr no.jpg

Hollywood producer tweets reveal outrageous sexism in script intros

GettyImages-507674140 (1).jpg

Why the world can't handle Susan Sarandon and her 69-year-old cleavage

rexfeatures_3682588ai (1).jpg

Emma Thompson hits out at "disturbing and sad" Hollywood sexism

mcgowan.jpg

The feminist Hollywood whistleblower you need to know about

last fckable day..JPG

Huge age gap exposed between actors and their female love interests

rexfeatures_5147839r.jpg

Tom Hiddleston gets naked for feminism

rexfeatures_5158286s.jpg

Helen Mirren: “I hate the word beautiful”

rexfeatures_5491500bm.jpg

Jennifer Lawrence pokes fun at success of female-led films

rexfeatures_5168456w.jpg

“The most beautiful women on the planet are rife with insecurity”

Comments

More

What is high-functioning anxiety – and are you suffering from it?

It affects a quarter of young women in the UK alone

by Megan Murray
24 Jul 2017

Quiz: what type of millennial are you?

Because not all millennials are born equal, you know…

by Kayleigh Dray
24 Jul 2017

Everything the Stranger Things 2 trailer reveals about the new series

Still gloriously terrifying and 80s, you’ll be pleased to know

by Amy Swales
24 Jul 2017

Dolores takes no prisoners in the new Westworld trailer

Remember when she was the shy, wide-eyed daughter of a rancher? Yeah, us neither

by Amy Swales
24 Jul 2017

Grandmother schools us in determination after becoming oldest graduate

Wait til you see what her dissertation was on...

by Megan Murray
24 Jul 2017

Boots apologises for “poor choice of words” on morning-after pill

Cheaper emergency contraception? Unprotected sex party at ours, everyone!

by Amy Swales
24 Jul 2017

Love Island may end tonight, but every single islander will return

These new shows definitely sound like our type on paper…

24 Jul 2017

“How Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington gave my generation a voice"

The musician leaves a lasting legacy

by Sarah Biddlecombe
21 Jul 2017

The grossly sexist ads we can’t believe exist in the 21st century

From a Co-op egg to that deeply offensive Protein World poster

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Jul 2017

How your Love Island obsession is wreaking havoc with your health

Experts have genuinely issued a warning…

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Jul 2017